MIJOY PRO is a VSTi MIDI plug-in that allows you to use a joystick or gamepad as a MIDI controller. It can be used to control other VSTi instruments, FX plug-ins and even MIDI hardware in real-time.
Nowadays synthesizers, samplers and effects offer an incredible range of possibilities. So much power and flexibility also means many parameters to be managed. Programming the automation by hand is a possible approach to this issue, but certainly more suitable for refining a track than for creating it from scratch.